Denmark captain Simon Kjaer and the medical team of the country’s national team received the 2021 Uefa President’s Award for saving Christian Eriksen‘s life during the just-concluded European Championship (Euro 2020).
Christian Eriksen almost died on the pitch during Denmark’s Euro 2020 opening match against Finland on June 12, 2021. The Inter Milan attacking midfielder suddenly collapsed the pitch in the game, a moment that sent shock waves across the football world.
Immediately that happened, Denmark captain Simon Kjaer rushed to Eriksen who was lying almost lifeless on the pitch, and initiated a CPR procedure which helped to keep him breathing until the medical team in the stadium joined them on the pitch.
Afterward, the medical team continued to give him CPR while Denmark captain Simon Kjaer led his teammates to form a wall around Eriksen to prevent the spectators in the stadium from getting every detail of what the football star was going through.
Minutes after, the 29-year-old attacking midfielder was rushed to the hospital and was later confirmed that the effort of the medical team and the 32-year-old Denmark captain helped Eriksen to survive a cardiac arrest.
Months after the incident, Eriksen had the opportunity to appreciate those who helped him to survive the cardiac arrest including Simon Kjaer and the medical team.
He said: “You did a fantastic job and saved my life. Also a big thanks to my friend and captain Simon and my teammates in the Danish team for your support, both on 12 June and afterward.
“Thanks to all the fans who have sent messages to me and my family. It means a lot and has given us strength and support. Thank you.”
Eriksen is currently doing well with a defibrillator, a heart starting device, implanted in him. He has started the process which could lead him to return to active football in a couple of months.
The reaction of Denmark captain Simon Kjaer
Denmark captain Simon Kjaer who currently plays as a defender at AC Milan reacted to the Uefa President’s award by stressing that the entire Denmark team reacted to the incident as a unit.
He however noted that playing a part in keeping Eriksen alive is the biggest privilege of his football career.
“It’s something that will stay with us for the rest of our lives,” said Kjaer.
“The team reacted as a unit…as a team, we made the maximum effort to stick together and try to get through that situation and be as helpful as possible.
“I try to lead the team on and off the pitch, in every aspect of life, as footballers, when we’re together. I think it’s one of the biggest privileges I have had in my career.
“I’ve known Christian for many years. He has a great family, he has a lot of friends, a lot of teammates that want the best for him. As long as he’s happy and his family is good, I’m happy.”
Names of those who received the 2021 Uefa President’s Award:
On-site medical team
Mogens Kreutzfeldt (chief medical officer)
Frederik Flensted (stadium medical manager)
Anders Boesen (pitchside emergency doctor)
Peder Ersgaard (paramedic)
Uefa Venue medical officers
Danish national medical team
Morten Skjoldager (physio accompanying the team doctor)
Morten Boesen (team doctor)
Simon Kjaer (Denmark national team captain)